Going Gluten-Free: The Myths
By Sara Butler
Gluten-free diets may be fashionable right now, but for millions of Americans with celiac disease, going gluten-free is a must. If you think that going gluten-free will have advantages for you, then you need to start with facts. But to get to those facts, you first must understand the biggest misconceptions people have about gluten-free diets. Here’s what you need to know.
Myth No. 1: It Will Help You Lose Weight
Many people think doctors prescribe gluten-free diets to help a person lose weight, but that’s not true. While it is true that many people going gluten-free avoid carbohydrates and that can result in some weight loss, there are many gluten-free products on the market that are made with carbohydrate substitutes, so eating highly processed foods isn’t going to do you any good whether they have gluten in them or not. If you really want to shed some pounds, then eat a diet free from processed foods and rich in fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and fresh fruit.
Myth No. 2: Less Gluten Leads to Less Stomach Upset
If you have celiac disease, removing gluten will make for a happier stomach. But if you don’t, then it likely won’t make any difference at all. There’s no evidence that removing gluten from your diet if it’s not a medical necessity will improve digestive health.
Myth No. 3: Gluten-Free Foods Are Healthier
About one-third of people believe gluten-free foods are healthier just because they’re gluten-free, but that’s not true at all. Products made to be gluten-free have their gluten replaced with something else. The only thing gluten really adds to a food is improved texture and palatability. So, manufacturers often used fat and sugar to help make gluten-free foods taste better. So, it’s likely that gluten-free foods that aren’t naturally gluten-free are full of fillers that will increase the calories, fat, and sugar in the product. That is not a health food!
The bottom line is that if your body doesn’t need to go gluten-free, there’s really no point to do it. Gluten isn’t keeping you from reaching your health or fitness goals. You can have a healthy diet that includes gluten. The only people who need to avoid it are those with celiac disease. If you think you may have trouble with gluten, then speak to a healthcare professional about it -- but don't forget to eat your vegetables!
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Northbrook, Ill.